Music: Play Track 8
I blankly stare at the ceiling as I continue lying in bed.
Kohaku is nestled beside me.
...... I can only hear her breathing softly. She's probably asleep.
I reach out and clench my hand into a fist.
I don't feel any more pain or dullness.
...... It feels like her warmth is still around me.
It hasn't gone through me completely, but I can feel my energy gradually increasing. Soon I'll be able to move as I wish.
It's no use hurrying to Akiha's room, so until then---I want to quietly linger here with Kohaku-san.
...... Close nearby.
I hear Kohaku-san's voice.
"...... I'm not the girl that you think I am. I don't have a sense of self of my own, even now may simply be just another act."
"A long time ago, I was always quiet. I never understood why people smiled or frowned or could ever discover the meaning behind it.
...... But I think that I did have a self. Until I was brought to this mansion, I really was alive."
"...... After coming here, I was forced to know unbearable pain. I think that is what destroyed my true self.
I just became this doll that was just there. It was more bearable, and it was the only way I could survive."
"But, even though I did that, it didn't solve anything. So--I searched for a purpose and started to act to fulfill my purpose.
I was a doll without any identity, so I if I wore the right clothes, I could become anyone.
...... But, even if I became someone else, it was just an act.
I could laugh or cry. But I could not understand if I was really happy or really sad."
...if you can't already tell, I really enjoy Kohaku's character. So much
"But when I would remember one thing, my heart would become agitated.
When I would remember that boy who disappeared eight years ago, I would get this feeling I could not understand.
That boy who was always playing in the garden who knew nothing about me yet invited me with his eyes.
I didn't like him or hate him, I was just scared.
...... After trying so hard and becoming a doll that could endure the pain, I felt like I would realize it was all an illusion when I watched that boy."
"...... When that boy lost his life in the garden, I was watching by the window.
He died saving a girl that was not even related to him by blood.
I couldn't pull my eyes from that scene. The reflection of my face in the mirror was terrifying.
...... That was the first time I ever hated anyone.
Because I really was frustrated.
I hated him and only him. I hated him to the point of tears.
"...... I don't hate Makihisa-sama. I really didn't feel anything at all towards him. ...... Towards SHIKI-sama who killed that boy, or Akiha-sama who was saved by that boy, I didn't feel anything at all."
"...... I don't know what that feeling was.
But in my emotionless days, only that boy was shining."
This entire update is pretty much, without a doubt, the best part of the Kohaku path.
Slowly, Kohaku lifts herself up.
"But, that's it.
I don't understand this feeling right now.
I am very happy right now, but that just might be another charade, right?
Hey, is it alright, Shiki-san?
Believing in me, someone who doesn't know if she loves you like you do me."
"Didn't I say it before? I don't even know what kind of person I am. Since I'm just a doll, I can become any Kohaku that I wish.
So, this Kohaku that you say you love, it isn't me, it's just----"
It just might be another pretend Kohaku.
She speaks with a satisfied smile and a wavering voice.
"...... That's not true. Acting, faking, that doesn't have anything to do with it. You are you.
...... A truly mean-hearted person can't pretend to be truly kind. No matter how you act, you are still the same inside, Kohaku-san."
...... That's right.
Even if it is just an act, Kohaku-san seems like she is having so much fun.
That means she is enjoying that role. It was her dream that could become real if she really wished for it.
"...... Yeah, even if everything was just a lie. I would still like the another, new Kohaku-san. Definitely."
Kohaku-san nods happily.
"That's true. I thought you'd say that."
Her lips draw close.
She launches a surprise attack and kisses me.
Her tongue slides into my mouth.
I feel something hard.
Something descends down my throat.
"This is hypothetical, but, would you still love me if I forced you to take drugs against your will?" "Huh? Well, um, I guess so, yeah." "Great."
"Hey, Shiki-san. I just have one last question for you. Which 'Kohaku' do you like the best?"
Her close, yet so distant voice.
I feel faint.
Even still...... I have to answer her.
"...... I don't, know. ...... But, I like this Kohaku."
I speak as if in a dream.
She looks at me in total surprise.
"Yes. I liked this Kohaku the best, too."
With an unmatchable smile, she quietly stands up.
"---What are, you doing, Kohaku----"
My consciousness flickers off and on.
...... What's, going on?
My body has finally healed, but this time my mind, is, fading----
"What am I doing.........!?"
I rouse myself awake.
What did she say to me when she left!?
--I have to take responsibility for what I have done--
"...... You've got to be kidding me......! Why did she--"
Why does she try to do everything herself......!?
There isn't any need to continue acting or hide anything.
I would do anything for her, so why---why is she still trying to go alone?
Forcing me to sleep---was she just worrying about me...............!?"
"It's really---beginning to piss me off---"
I get up from bed.
...... The desk is so far away.
"...... Damn it...... what kind of drug, did she, give me. ...... I have to go, to her room once and---"
I have to clean out her room and take all her medicine away---
"Oh goddamnit, first it was hallucinogenics and now it's a goddamn sedative. One of these days, she's going to poison me."
Crap. I fell asleep again.
...... What is this strong drowsiness?
No matter how hard I try to fight it, it won't help.
"......... Damn it......... Kohaku-san, I'll pay you back for this----"
I grab the knife.
Kachink! It flies open.
I take it and---
Man, this is gonna be extremely painful.
---Thinking that, I slice into the nail of my middle finger.
The acute, slicing pain drives straight into my brain.
I pull the knife back out from my nail.
Every time my finger feels pain, the sleepiness goes away.
Wrapping my finger with a handkerchief, I stop the bleeding.
"............ Well, if it's like this."
It won't stop me from gripping my knife. ...... All I really need to do is hold it, anyway. I don't even need the physical strength required to cleave through things.
"Damn it, don't do anything foolish, Kohaku--!"
I jam the knife in my pocket and fly out of the room.
I can't let Kohaku-san and Akiha face each other.
If I can't prevent that, then something that can never be taken back will happen---
When did that happen?
I knew that I lost track of time when I was making love to Kohaku-san, but I didn't think it was this late already.
"By this time, Akiha has----"
Gone out on the streets to drink blood.
"It can't be----the school......?"
Ah, right, we've only had ONE dramatic battle to the death in the school so far this path. That simply won't do.
That dream of drinking someone's blood I once had after SHIKI was killed by Akiha.
I don't know how it happened, but if that was what Akiha was watching, that means Akiha has made the school grounds her feeding place, just like SHIKI.
Then---at this time, Akiha, who's a blood sucking demon, won't be anywhere else but there---
Music: Play Track 9
Yeah, it'll do that sometimes if you go too many times... oh. You meant the other one.
I see countless red strands of hair when I look past my glasses.
The red hair permeates the school grounds and the building like the web of a thousand-year-old spider, not a hole anywhere to let its prey escape.
This place is already a different world.
It's not a world any human should enter.
"Have you gone that far?"
My headache does not go away.
The sharp pain of my cut fingernail.
My heart lifts up a rhythm of delighted sobs.
I take off my glasses and grip my knife.
...... How long has it been since I faced these "lines"?
I never thought I would take off the glasses I received from Sensei of my own free will.
I didn't think even in my dream that I'd be using them to face my little sister.
It must be an adventure game item. Shiki has to pocket the Red Lock of Hair to give to someone later.
Music: Play Track 4
Entering inside, the temperature is even hotter.
I know what this heat is.
I saw it in the dream. The vampire that attacked a young woman entered the school grounds, and then----
Dragging that body, went into that place.
That room that the killer SHIKI was once using.
The silver moon looks down like a snake at the accused.
In this classroom.
It's kinda hard to kill a whole classroom, buddy, but you're welcome to try.
Nausea fills me as soon as I enter.
In between the desks lie the collapsed bodies of girls.
One, two......... three.
All of them have completely lost consciousness.
On their necks are trails of blood.
In the middle of it all, that red haired "monster" is laughing.
Music: Play Track 9
Actually, I think there might be a trace of malevolence there... just... maybe a hint.
The moonlight streaming through the window illuminates her.
I haven't moved a step since I entered the room.
...... My instincts scream at me that this is bad.
That thing is something beyond what I expected.
The Akiha that exterminated SHIKI pales in comparison to this.
"I'm surprised. You aren't supposed to be able to walk, yet you forced yourself to come see me.
...... I'm happy. I guess you finally understand my feelings."
Her voice is full of happiness.
My reason cries out.
Tohno Shiki cannot win against that thing.
So you can't make it angry. Don't let it be your enemy. If you do that, you will surely be annihilated.
"Kohaku? You mean that kimono-wearing hussy?"
"She's over there. I don't know what she was thinking, but she's now receiving her punishment for raising a hand against me."
She looks to the wall beside me.
I follow her gaze.
On the wall---is the crucified form of Kohaku-san.
Her body is floating in mid-air.
No, it would look like that for someone else.
My eyes can see what is tying her.
Her body is pinned against the wall by something like red hair.
The hair creakingly tightens around her arms and legs.
...... Has she passed out? Her head is hanging down---she really looks like a butterfly caught in a spider's web.
"But let me warn you. I don't care for pets that bite me. I guess it doesn't belong to me anymore in my heart.
So there won't be a second time. I have no need for those that aren't mine.
...... Hey, Nii-san. I can be very cruel to those who betray me."
The sound of tightening reaches my ears.
The red hair binding Kohaku-san's arms and legs tightens even further, as if to rip her limbs off.
I run towards the wall.
The hair binding Kohaku-san cannot be touched.
...... This is just an extension of her hair, only what Akiha is imagining.
By putting Kohaku-san in her sight, Akiha is trapping Kohaku-san to the wall with her willpower.
----Th, um, p.
...... The flowing power looks like red hair.
That is something she can't even see.
I think suddenly.
Weren't my eyes designed specifically for this sort of thing from the beginning?
And by facing death so many times, haven't they discerned the very concept of death----
It doesn't feel like I'm cutting through something.
My knife glides through the red hair with speed and accuracy, as if I was merely reaping the air for harvest.
Before I realize it,
I have sliced through all the hair binding Kohaku-san in one breath.
Her body falls.
I catch her and touch her cheeks.
She's still warm. Her breathing is weak but it isn't stopped. ...... I can only see a few "lines" on her body.
I let out a sigh of relief.
I place her down on the floor.
"You fucked the maid, didn't you? Son of a bitch, I never should've left you two alone."
"Nii-san, you----made a contract with Kohaku?"
Her voice quivers.
It isn't full of hatred, but more like sorrow.
"...... This can't be. Then that means you chose not me, but---"
She leans against the window with eyes full of stunned surprise.
Her face is pale and she looks like she will vomit---
"Uu......... ah, eh------agh!"
---No, she does.
She vomits as if crying.
Her red hair fluttering, she hides her anguished face as she continues vomiting. It's almost as if she was letting out her screams.
Music: Play Track 4
----Thu, m, p.
On one hand, my heart is raging forth and on the other hand, my reason is screaming warnings at me.
The commands of "kill" and "escape" clash together.
"Stupi---that isn't it......! I didn't come here to kill you......!"
"Er, sorry, got kinda caught up in the moment there. You're right, actually, I'm here to kill you."
"Liar. You slept with Kohaku, didn't you?
Then you don't need my help anymore, do you? So isn't that why you came here?"
"You intend just to cast me off now?
Hah...... I really must look stupid. I thought of you so dearly, I loved you this much----but you don't even think of me."
"Cast you off? Don't say stupid things like that.
...... You are very dear to me. What---whatever you want, I---"
I can't say the words "will do them."
I know what it is she wants.
But, I can't do that. I can't betray Kohaku-san again.
Music: Play Track 6
I start to stagger.
Unconsciously, my legs move back.
It's music time again!
"I told you, Nii-san. I have no need for pets that bite me once."
"...... Nii-san. For me, you really were the most important person in the world. But that is all over.
Because, however much I yearn for you, if I can never have you, then aren't you just an eyesore?"
---Thump. Thump. Thump.
"---So, I will kill you, Nii-san.
You are the most important thing to me, so I will not let anyone else have you."
---Thump. Thump Thump Thump Thump......!
"Geez, what's the matter, Nii-san? I'm being generous here. If I became serious, then it would be all over, so I have to let you do at least a little bit, right?
Here, won't you come slash at me like you did when you saved Kohaku?"
"C'mon, stab me! Please? For old time's sake!"
Her smile doesn't fade.
The murderous feeling in the air almost makes me want to puke.
Akiha, is completely----
"...... I see, you're pretty weak, Nii-san. You can't even bring yourself to kill me.
But I'm different. I can't help but want to kill you.
...... Because I've been holding back for so long.
Your blood, your flesh, your warmth, your shape, everything. I always dreamed about making them completely mine and mine only."
While she shakes, while her body shakes with each word, she smiles with pleasure.
---I'm about to go crazy.
My head. If my head hurts this much, I will---
I will go crazy and feel like, fighting Akiha to the death----
I see no problems with this
"Well then, let's fight to the death, Nii-san. The Tohno and Nanaya families have always had that connection. There's no need to hold back, right?"
She takes a step closer.
Her red hair around the floor shakes.
"I don't care if you can't even do that.
A spew of lies like you should just die here."
She spits these last words.
Like the time she killed SHIKI, she stares at me.
The ground jumps up at me.
That which cannot be seen, the red thing that looks like a fiery aura, tries to engulf me.
My breathing goes wild.
This speed isn't natural.
I was so fast that I disappeared from Akiha's vision in an instant.
If I didn't do that, there was no way I could have escaped that fiery aura.
In that dream, Akiha plundered SHIKI's body with just her stare.
...... I am in the same position SHIKI was.
Akiha only needs to look while I need to close in. There's too much difference in our abilities.
"No---! I said I didn't want to fight you.........!"
"Because I know I'll lose!"
My headache increases.
It feels like my head's going to split in two and grow wings.
The burning red aura flows out from the classroom door.
She is transforming the entire air into pure vermillion and comes out into the hallway after me.
About a classroom's length lies between me and her.
"Amazing. Just what kind of body do you have, Nii-san?"
"It's hot and you can't have it."
Her hair waves around.
The air in the hallway starts to increase without limit.
"Even if it is night, disappearing from my view like this is strange. ...... Your legs really are amazingly fast. It isn't that you are hiding your body behind anything, you're just moving faster than my eyes can track."
I jump back. The air around me turns to that fiery aura and wraps around my arms and legs.
I swing my knife. What I see is satisfactory. This headache tears at my right brain.
I slice apart the red hair with the air around it.
"Again---why can you do such things............!!?"
There is a Nanaya joke here I'm not making. Watch me not ma- Nanaya: It slices, it dice- fuck.
She walks over towards me staggering.
She must think that it doesn't work because she cannot focus on my distant figure.
...... Well, that's probably right.
Her power works proportionally to the clearness of her vision.
Because we're in a building in the middle of the night, her fiery aura is slow in catching me.
If it was daytime, her vision and the fiery aura would probably be the same speed.
If that was the case, I wouldn't be able to kill that aura fast enough.
I pull back with the burning still in my legs.
Since we are cautious of each other, we keep our distance as we shift down the hallway.
A figure emerges from the classroom we were just in.
Music: Play Track 8
Oh, this is gonna be good.
"Please stop. If you do this, you will only hurt yourself, Akiha-sama...... Even if you keep drinking blood and go insane like SHIKI-sama, you will still suffer."
Like she will collapse at any moment, Kohaku-san walks towards Akiha.
My outcry can't reach her.
To get to Kohaku-san, I have to go past Akiha.
How---can I do that?
"You're wrong......! That is only what you are telling yourself. Isn't it just that you killed SHIKI-sama and Shiki-san found out about everything, so you want to make everything like it never happened......?
But that is something you cannot do. No matter how crazy you may act, you're really----"
"Silence............! Don't try and act like a good person after setting us up to kill each other......!"
"Oh you did not just go there." "I did. I went there."
Akiha's hair dances in the air.
This is entirely different than the amount of power she directed against me.
"You must be satisfied. Just like you planned, Nii-san and I are fighting to the death. Your revenge is now complete, right?"
Kohaku-san's words are cut off.
"Didn't you think it was strange? Going to sleep early every night, having your memories obscured, that was all Kohaku's doing.
She prepared you drugs instead of medicine. And then all she had to do was whisper in your ear while you were high.
'You are the killer stalking the streets' was all she had to say."
"And after making you a killer, she tried to get you to kill me.
No, even if you didn't become the killer, you just had to walk the streets at night.
While she made this elaborate play pitting you and I against each other, Kohaku prepared everything with a smile.
In order to carry out her revenge against the Tohno family, Kohaku deceived even you, who had no connection to this, and completed the situation we are in right now."
---Yeah, it seems so clear now.
That's why Kohaku-san would always appear at the right time, always telling me what I wanted to know, always giving me medicine when I couldn't sleep.
"I like Kohaku's candy. It makes me feel funny."
Music: Play Track 7
A questioning voice.
I wonder which of them said it?
"It's okay as long as she keeps giving me candy."
"--Ha. Ahaha, ha."
Akiha's dry, doll-like laugh.
"...... Then I'm just some sort of clown?
Rejected by the one I love the most who is being used as a tool by the one he loves instead?
Still----you still want to steal him from me! Don't be ridiculous, Kohaku......!!!!"
Her hair starts to flow.
Even if Akiha ends up killing me, even if I can't make it, I don't care. I run and I reach out my hand.
But, I knew the cruel reality.
That the instant she walked out of that classroom.
That my hand, will never make it, to her.
A sickening sound.
Akiha's hair pierces Kohaku's chest like a spear.
Shocked, no, as if she was accepting it, she didn't even try to dodge.
Her kimono wavers in the air as if it was all in slow-motion.
My brain doesn't want to confirm it and lags behind the flow of time.
I remember those words.
---I couldn't understand why he did that. Did he value someone more precious than his own life?
She, always wanted, to become, that precious someone.
But that did not happen, so she lived alone.
And as if saying this is the only result that she could end up in.
.................. That sin.
Not just eight years ago, but it returns even in this instant.
---I thought it was so strange.
Why----why were the people around me not as kind as he was---
Music: Play Track 4
My legs stop.
I can't speak, I can't breathe.
My piercing headache is the only thing that continues.
"That Kimono-wearing hussy got what she deserved..."
"I can't go back. I killed SHIKI, even Nii-san rejected me. Then, I have nowhere else to go. I'm free now, so there shouldn't be any pain."
She faces me.
The air burns again. Her hair coils around her like a snake. It seems like every one of them has a mind of its own.
This piercing headache. Headache.
"----Didn't you want to kill me?"
This headache. Headache. Headache. Headache.
This... headache? *stab*
"Not Kohaku-san---wasn't I the one you wanted to kill, Akiha?"
"What, did you want to die quickly, Nii-san? Well, I wouldn't forgive her even if she apologized. I would have killed her sooner or later.
Because it's not like she had any reason to live. She was broken a long time ago, so isn't it doing her a favor to throw her away?"
If someone breaks, then it's a favor for them if you throw them away.
"............... You, aren't Akiha."
She isn't the Akiha that I know.
I was just refusing to acknowledge that she was already possessed by the mirage so long ago.
"Fine, Akiha, as you wish."
Eight years ago. Like when we ran in the garden.
My headache stops.
Tohno Shiki dies. Nanaya Shiki saunters out of the dark night.
I visually gauge the distance between me and my enemy.
It is about ten meters. I need two steps to get into knife range. To ensure a kill, I need to take three steps.
There isn't any cover in the hallway and it's not big enough to hide myself by moving around. Even if I use the walls or the ceiling, I will have difficulty avoiding her gaze.
Even if I take two steps, Akiha can easily fix her eyes on me in one motion.
That is the situation. From this distance, I will die faster since she will be slightly faster.
"---I see. You're finally in the mood, Nii-san."
Akiha takes a step forward.
Even though it's dark, with this distance, she can see me clearly.
Another step. If she takes another step, that will be my signal.
"Not good enough, Nii-san. No matter how fast you are, you just get clearer as you get closer to me-----!"
Her voice is full of delight.
Her eyes catch a hold of me.
Then, the rest is simple.
I won't be able to reach her, as she'll evaporate my arms and legs, and collapse to the floor.
that is, only if she can fix her eyes on me until I am completely burned away.
My view reverses.
Her voice is full of surprise.
In that same instant, the red hair that was to burn my arms and legs vanishes.
It's fortunate that the hallway is just a straight line.
Akiha, who thought I would only attack directly, can't see me as I climb up the wall and jump to the ceiling.
Proceeding up the wall like a spider, my foot touches the ceiling only once.
It's not like I can actually be a spider.
Turning my body, I'm just using the ceiling for a foothold.
The distance is good enough.
Before my body falls, I use my legs to thrust off the ceiling.
Oh how long I have waited for this moment, and it is so worth every second!
Music: Play Track 9
Wait, how did this get in here? Moving on....
On the hard floor, something that's shaped like a bowling ball drops.
It's all over. Her eyes are cluelessly looking at the wall of the hallway, and probably will continue to do so for all of eternity.
"Is that the last thing you saw?"
Her eyes being lower than that of a dog or a cat's, she fixes her gaze towards the dirty wall.
Everywhere is darkness. Dying while watching this scenery, it's like a bad joke.
"...... Didn't the old man teach you that taking pleasure in killing is shallow, Akiha?"
...... Well, that would've been useless. Tohno Makihisa was shallow, so her messing up like that was inevitable.
My stopped breathing resumes.
My burnt body feels power flowing into it once more.
...... Because Kohaku-san died, my body was losing its power.
But since Akiha died, it seems like I am returning to normal.
Well, in the first place,
this body, this head, this heart, even if I embrace them and live, there is nothing-------
My breathing returns.
My numb arm and leg still seem to be holding their shape.
On the floor, Akiha's blood finally starts to spill outward.
Crawling to the wall, I manage to stand up on one leg.
I open the window and fresh air streams in.
The cold wind blows through the baking hallway.
Red. Red, red, red eye.
"...... Ha...... haha...... I understand it now----"
That made it all clear.
What Akiha was looking at in her last moments wasn't the wall.
She was looking at Nanaya Shiki as he approached to mechanically slice her neck.
"...... I see. Then----it won't go away, will it."
Then, the moon will always be red.
In her eyes, the killer is still burning.
That can't be erased.
This is by far the best ending this path has to offer.
Music: play track 3
Oh my, Tohno-kun has gotten really serious.
That's a no-no. Even though Akiha-san has turned on her invincible mode, you shouldn't try to kill her.
When it comes to killing, you are by far the expert.
You have some leeway, so you should just observe Akiha-san for now.
...but what if I like the supplementary lessons?